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Blues kick on for bonus-point win

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Update: 10:43AM A 20-point performance from rookie first five-eighth Simon Hickey paved the way for the Blues' 40-30 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

The 20-year-old has only played four Super Rugby matches, but is adding to his promising reputation with every one.

His partnership with halfback Piri Weepu again looked solid, his decision-making sound and his kicking game proved pivotal as the Blues picked up their second win of the season.

The two teams matched each other closely in the first quarter, Hickey and experienced Cheetahs pivot Johan Goosen trading penalties before the Blues finally managed to hang onto some possession and start building phases.

Pressure on the Cheetahs lineout forced a turnover, and Blues blindside flanker Steven Luatua crashed over from close range after 15 minutes.

His Cheetahs counterpart Boom Prinsloo returned the favour five minutes later, driven over in an unstoppable maul from an attacking lineout.

But from then on it was all the Blues, as the Cheetahs struggled with their cover defence after going a man down when Prinsloo was sinbinned for a professional foul after 25 minutes.

Centre George Moala bullocked his way over on 30 minutes, then the Blues pounced two minutes later with an opportunist try to Tevita Li after Cheetahs' fullback Willie le Roux made a complete hash of Jackson Willison's chip kick ahead.

Up 30-16 at the break, the Blues couldn't add to their tally after the restart and the Cheetahs clawed their way back with a superb try to Cornal Hendricks as the hour mark neared.

Working off good field position and a solid scrum, the elusive winger punched through the midfield and turned the Blues defence inside out before touching down to reduce the lead to just seven.

The try sparked some intensity back into the Blues, and prop Tony Woodcock powered over for the bonus-point try from a penalty scrum three minutes later to restore the 14-point margin.

And although the Cheetahs again closed the gap with a try to wing Hennie Daniller with 13 minutes remaining, the ever-reliable Hickey slotted another penalty and the Blues held on for a win which bumped them up to sixth on the table.

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